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Tubes improves: No longer requires download

The peer-to-peer Tubes application now works as a Web-publishing platform.

Tubes, the powerful peer-to-peer synchronization service we first covered in January, now has a hosting service, as well. Once you create a "tube" on your PC and synchronize it, other users will be able to view it on the Web. They no longer need the Tubes software.

To update a Tube site, just drag files into its tile.

This means that Tubes is now a Web-publishing platform, which is an interesting development. You will be able to create a site using Tubes, and then update the site just by dragging files or directories from your PC. Whenever you're connected to the network, your site gets the new files straight from your PC, and the Web site is immediately updated.

This feature can be used to create fairly deep, professional sites, or just for keeping family members up to date with vacation photos. The drag-to-publish function reduces the hassle of keeping a site up to date.

You can use Tubes to publish sites, like this Digg experiment.

The PC synchronization lets users subscribe to Tube sites and get them downloaded to their PC for offline viewing later. Few people will likely use Tubes in this way, but it is cool if you want your own always-updated archive of a particular Tube. It's a lot like subscribing to a podcast.

The service, as I tested it, was missing site templates and a full editing capability. Also, Tubes creates nasty, huge URLs; I'd like to see more publisher-friendly domain mapping.

As before, Tubes offers a lot of utility and access control for the data you put on it, which is important if you're using it in a work environment.

Tubes users get 1GB of storage for free. Paid accounts are available with more capacity.